So the first place we started looking for information was on the internet and there is a LOT of stuff out there! Lots of Local Authorities (LAs) have their own web pages specifically for fostering and adoption. Further searches revealed that there are also dedicated Voluntary Agencies (VAs) that deal with fostering and adoption. I’ll cover their differences at a later point…
We eventually stumbled across an adoption information evening that was happening in the next few days about 25mins drive away from home. After a telephone enquiry from James, we learned that the evening would last a couple of hours and there would be an opportunity to ask as many questions as we had. We booked a slot and went along not really knowing what to expect.
The day arrived and we got there late! (Those who know me, will be aware of how much I hate lateness whereas James seems to have a somewhat more relaxed attitude to time keeping…!)
Anyway…. once we’d settled down, at the back, trying to draw as little attention to ourselves as possible I was able to scan the room. What struck me immediately about the other potential adopters in the room was that we were the youngest couple by about a decade and were also the only interracial couple. But it was also great to note that there was another gay couple, a lesbian couple, single adopters – a whole range of people.
The session basically talked us through the whole adoption process in great detail, from time scales and stages to police checks and what kind of children end up in care. It had never really occurred to me what kind of children would actually be up for adoption. It soon became clear that these children potentially have a significant amount of trauma, emotional damage, disruption, developmental delay and even disabilities and longterm illnesses. In short, they’ve been through a lot of crap before ending up in care and in need of new, loving families. It was a concept that had previously escaped me. I’d imagined we’d adopt a perfect, beautiful, healthy child that just happened to need new parents. But even hearing about all the possible complications that the kids available to us might come with, I couldn’t help but feel totally overcome with emotion – I was now even more ready, more sure than ever that this was what we were supposed to do. Maybe it sounds iffy, but I felt a strong sense of ‘duty’ also.
All throughout the session James and I asked A LOT of questions – neither of us is very shy when it comes to piping up! At the end we got a chance to speak to one of the social workers who seemed very keen on us. The fact that we’re young, interracial and have buckets of experience with children made us a very attractive prospect. However, it emerged that in this particular borough there were practically no BME (black and minority ethnic) children in care so it wouldn’t make sense for us to sign up with this particular agency. That was a minor blow but we left feeling very sure that we were on the right track – we were definitely gonna become parents!